The Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health (CAMDH) and the School of Indigenous Studies at the University of Western Australia (UWA) have been running Health Careers Workshops (HCW) to support the recruitment of Indigenous students into Medicine, Dentistry, Health Science and Science degrees. The Health Careers Workshops have been running since 1995 and are aimed at secondary high school students from Year 9 through to Year 11, with the majority being in Year 10.
Since the program’s inception, a total of 354 students from rural, remote and urban high schools from across Western Australia have attended the HCW. The HCW is run over a one-week period during the winter school holidays and students are housed in college/university accommodation. The students are exposed to various aspects of a university environment with a particular emphasis on health and science activities.
Visits to the Dental school and the Anatomy laboratory are interactive sessions for students to perform dental procedures, plaster casts, suturing and play with the robotic equipment used for surgical procedures. A careers night is organised and students get to meet with current university enrolled students from a variety of disciplines and attend motivational sessions with past Indigenous graduates from Medicine, Dentistry and other Health and Science courses. University staff facilitates these sessions, along with currently enrolled Indigenous students who act as camp supervisors and mentors.
Of the 354 students who have attended the HCW, 36% have entered a university course; 15% have entered a health-based course; and, a total 46 students have entered Medicine, Dentistry or a Health Sciences course at UWA.
Therefore the HCW Workshop has proven to be a very successful strategy that is helping to address the shortage of Indigenous doctors and other health professionals. It sits along side an integrated schools program coordinated by the School of Indigenous Studies that includes other camps for Year 8, Year 9 and Year 12 students.
For more information contact CAMDH via W: http://www.sparhc.uwa.edu.au/camdh